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Talk Show Host's Run For Office Prompts Questions Of Equal Time

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Paul Savage, a sports talk show host for KGSO Radio, recently filed to run for a seat on the Wichita City Council. That prompted questions about giving equal time to his opponents.

This story started out today wondering if Savage's two hours on the air everyday was fair and ethical to the other candidates. But after we started asking questions, Savage was pulled off the air.

"My job as a broadcaster in the world of sports is to attract an audience and keep an audience listening to us as long as we can," Savage said.

But Paul Savage won't have that opportunity, at least for the next few months. KGSO General Manager Todd Johnson pulled Savage off the air today, saying it opens the station up for equal time rules for the other candidates.

"If I want to kill my show the first thing I gotta do is start talking politics. I would have people leaving my show and going to somewhere else on the dial.

Savage is the owner of the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame. He's also a real estate investor.

He decided to continue his campaign and put his show on hold. FCC regulations say if the candidate is on the air, it doesn't matter if he's campaigning or not, it triggers what is known as a use.

In the FCC rules, a use means any other candidate within that office can request the same amount of time for their use in any way they want," Kent Cornish, Kansas Association of Broadcasters said.

The hotly contested seat being vacated by Sue Schlapp has four candidates.

"I've got three issues. Jobs, jobs, and some more jobs. Jobs to stay in Wichita. Jobs to be brought to Wichita. We need people that will step up and create an environment that jobs can be brought to this city and retaining of jobs. We got jobs here, let's not let them go," Savage said.

Another Wichita City Council candidate is real estate investor, Om Chauhan. He says he would have pressed the issue of equal time. The retired defense department overseer, wants to see local housing codes overhauled. "Everything in the city code...the policy is set by
the council is criminal. Everything. Regardless of what you do it is criminal. I don't think that is necessary.

Candidate Steve Harris is the CEO of Galichia Heart Hospital. Reached by phone, Harris says he would not have pressed the equal time issue. He is also running on a platform of jobs, as well as keeping downtown development and affordable airfares on track.

The last candidate running is Charlie Stephens. We could not reach him for comment.


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